On September 23, 2016, the DoD published a final rule reducing the requirement to respond to a contracting officer’s challenge to restricted rights regarding the use of technical data by strengthening the presumption of development exclusively at private expense. Previously, a contracting officer’s challenge to a contractor’s restrictions on the use of technical data relating to a major system was upheld unless the contractor submitted information demonstrating the item was developed exclusively at private expense. The NDAA for FY 2016 changed this practice, which the DoD implemented in the final rule. The major systems rule was narrowed to apply only to major weapon systems. Also, the exception to the major systems rule for commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items was expanded to include three exceptions: (1) a commercial subsystem or component of a commercial item major weapon system; (2) a component of a commercial item subsystem; and (3) commercially available off-the-shelf items with modifications of a type customarily available in the commercial marketplace. The new rule shifts the burden to the government to demonstrate that the contractor did not develop a given item exclusively at private expense. This approach reflects the reality that modifying COTS items is a useful practice. The final rule became effective on September 23, 2016. (81 Fed. Reg. 65,565, 09/23/16)